The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Nutrition Service (FNS) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) continues to serve as the first line of defense against hunger in the U.S.

Gender Dynamics and SNAP Enrollment

Gender Dynamics and SNAP/CalFresh Enrollment among Immigrant Households in California

Research Team: Tina Sacks (Social Welfare), Ron Strochlic (UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Nutrition Policy Institute), Maria Echaveste (Law), and G. Christina Mora (Sociology)

Collaborators: Elizabeth Katz (University of San Francisco) and Stephanie Nishio (California Association of Food Banks)

Funding Level: $50,000

Research Summary

The research explores gender dynamics as a barrier to participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)/CalFresh among eligible Latino immigrant households in California. There are numerous barriers to SNAP participation, including long applications, burdensome verification requirements, onerous reporting procedures, and perceived stigma. Additional barriers affecting immigrants include language concerns about impacts on immigration status. An additional yet largely unexplored barrier is the role of gender dynamics, particularly in immigrant communities. First-person reports by food stamp outreach providers suggest that it is not uncommon for immigrant Latina women to start the SNAP enrollment process without completion due to opposition from their husbands, who are concerned about stigma and impacts on immigration status. This exploratory research, which will be based on qualitative data collection, will shed light on an unexplored barrier to SNAP participation. A greater understanding of this phenomenon will contribute to the development of more effective policies and outreach strategies, with the goal of increasing SNAP enrollment rates in California.


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